45 of the Best Things to Do in London in July 2021
It’s #SummerInLondon, 19 July is the new ‘freedom day’ and there’s plenty to do both indoors and out, from alfresco theatre in Regent’s Park to Giffords Circus in Chiswick, London Restaurant Festival and Horrible Histories on the Thames… Lead image courtesy of Taste of London 1 London Restaurant Festival
London Restaurant Festival launches its first ever summer edition this month.
London’s top chefs and restaurants are taking part, including Michelin-starred dining rooms such as Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester, Helene Darroze at The Connaught and Marcus Wareing at The Berkeley, as well as the latest Talk of the Town spots such as Andy Beynon at Behind, James Knappett at Kitchen Table and Santiago Lastra at Kol. New experiences include Tennis at the Marina, where guests can watch the Wimbledon Finals on a floating pontoon restaurant in St Katharine Docks, and a one-night-only dining experience hosted by Jose Pizarro at new east London neighbourhood, Goodluck Hope. LRF continues its successful partnership with OpenTable to offer special Festival Menus at over 250 of London’s top restaurants, with six categories to choose from including Talk of the Town, Outside and Rooftop, London Legends and Champagne Festival Menus. Ultimate Gastronomic Weekends will return with chef-led events and dining experiences during weekend stays at leading hotels like The Ned and Great Scotland Yard.
There’s also a specially curated programme of events available exclusively for Amex Platinum and Amex Centurion Cardmembers. Later in the year, the annual October LRF will also return.
londonrestaurantfestivalsummer.com 2 Underbelly Festival, Cavendish Square
1 July-26 September
Underbelly Festival returns with a spectacular programme of cabaret, circus, comedy, podcasts and family shows at its brand-new home in Cavendish Square. The Spiegeltent will be back, alongside a sumptuous array of street food and summer outdoor bars. Highlights include the hilarious new cabaret, Bernie Dieter’s Berlin Underground, The Sickening 90s Drag Prom from TuckShop, creators of iconic Underbelly Festival favourites such as Spice Gals and Gals Aloud, the king of improvised comedy hip-hop Abandoman, and pop parodists’ par-excellence Frisky & Mannish. Family entertainment includes Edinburgh Festival Fringe mega hit Hotel Paradiso, CBBC legends and Crackerjack presenters Sam & Mark, and legend of the silver screen Basil Brush.
Tickets from GBP10.
Cavendish Square W1G 0PU; underbellyfestival.com 3 Meet Me in Marylebone
Meet Me in Marylebone Shopping and Dining Day, presented by Marylebone Village, is a great day to meet in this beautiful central London village to shop, drink, dine and take advantage of some great special offers and activations. From fashion, beauty and wellbeing to food and drink, more than 50 retailers in Marylebone Village will offer an exciting array of discounts, gifts with purchases, freebies and extended opening hours.
Participating brands include agnes b, Tiger of Sweden, Toast, French Sole, Caroline Gardner, The Organic Pharmacy, Peloton and Lululemon, as well as restaurants and bars such as Caldesi, The Jackalope, 108 Brasserie, The Mandeville Hotel and The Coach Makers Arms.
Find out more at marylebonevillage.com or follow @marylebonevillage 4 High Tea and Jazz with Ronnie Scott’s at Fortnum & Mason
London Jazz institution Ronnie Scott’s has teamed up with Fortnum & Mason’s iconic Afternoon Tea destination, The Diamond Jubilee Tea Salon, for an evening of decadent entertainment. Step inside the tea salon for this exclusive ticketed event and enjoy Fortnum’s famous High Tea menu accompanied by live Jazz from the world-famous musicians of Ronnie Scott’s. You’ll be greeted with a glass of Fortnum’s Blanc de Blancs Champagne, and indulge in luxurious dishes including Lobster Omelette Victoria with Truffle, fresh Baked Cornish Brill with Champagne Sauce, seasonal Asparagus with Citrus Hollandaise or traditional Southwest PGI Lamb Wellington, as well as scones and Fortnum’s delicious patisseries.
6pm-9pm. The specially curated High Tea menu can also be booked for pre-theatre and early afternoon dining experiences any day of the week and weekends. Tickets GBP80pp from eventbrite.co.uk.
181 Piccadilly, St James’s W1A 1ER; fortnumandmason.com 5 Taste of London, Regent’s Park
7-11 & 14-18 July
Taste of London, which mixes the hottest London restaurants with future food heroes and plenty of fizz, has extended its event across 10 days this year with a limited capacity per session to help keep things Covid-secure.
Alongside the festival’s week-long restaurants, a line-up of Daily Specials give you the chance to sample some of the city’s tastiest new concepts, popping up for one or two days only. Highlights of the line-up include Gizzi Erskine and Professor Green’s lockdown food venture Giz ‘n’ Green, the Delevingne sisters’ premium prosecco festival debut Della Vite, Sri Lankan favourite Hoppers, Napoli Gang’s exclusive dish, the Chocorgasmo Pizza, Indo Chinese restaurant Fatt Pundit’s delectable Crispy Sticky Bites, and Sonora Taqueria’s daily special of Short Rib and Beef Cheek Torta. DJ legend and Instagram sensation DJ Fat Tony will also be there for entertainment. Entry Pass from GBP23.
Tasting Ticket from GBP37, Diners Club VIP Feasting Ticket from GBP59.
Taste of London returns to Regents Park for summer 2021
Underbelly’s famous upside-down purple cow tent is back!
Marylebone Village is hosting a Meet Me in Marylebone shopping day on 1 July 6 Christie’s Exceptional Sale
Christie’s Classic Week Exceptional Sale on 8 July will present unique and treasured works of art, including the finest English and European furniture, sculpture and clocks to porcelain and silver. Focusing on provenance, rarity, design and craftsmanship, The Exceptional Sale offers the best of the best, with an emphasis on the European decorative arts, alongside masterpieces from other categories. The auction will be led by an exquisite drawing of Head of a Bear by Leonardo da Vinci (estimate GBP8,000,000-GBP12,000,000), as well as Isaac Newton’s (1642-1727) handwritten revisions to the Principia (estimate GBP600,000-GBP900,000) and an Egyptian granite head of Sekhmet dated 1390-1352 BC (estimate GBP2,000,000-3,000,000). Browse the lots here (preview at Christie’s King Street from 3-8 July).
8 King Street, St.
James’s SW1Y 6QT; christies.com 7 Wimbledon Lanson Champagne Dinner at The Rubens Hotel, Victoria
The next in The Rubens Dinner Series is a Wimbledon Lanson Champagne Dinner, served in the hotel’s beautiful English Grill restaurant. The exceptional tasting menu, created by Executive Chef Ben Kelliher and prepared in the open kitchen, includes a starter of Cornish Crab and smoked Scotch egg, a fish course, a palette cleanser of Pimms Royale, a main course of Josper-barbequed Welsh lamb rump and a Wimbledon-themed dessert of lemon-cured parfait with strawberries and Greek yoghurt sorbet. Each course is paired with a different Lanson Champagne and the evening commences with Champagne cocktails in the Leopard Bar.
Priced GBP149pp. From 6pm. The Rubens is also serving a Wimbledon Royal Afternoon Tea from 28 June-31 July, from GBP45pp.
39 Buckingham Palace Road, Victoria SW1W 0PS; rubenshotel.com
8 Giffords Circus at Chiswick House & Gardens
Until 11 July
The legendary Giffords Circus arrives in Chiswick this month with its latest production, The Hooley. There will be fairies, trolls, pixies, leprechauns, wild horses, Celtic music and dancing and all the madcap magic for which Giffords is synonymous in this glittering production, dreamt up by the late Nell Gifford with Director Cal McCrystal. The Hooley stars Lil Rice, Tweedy the Clown, Nancy Trotter Landry, Rebecca Musselwhite and Duo Imagine, complete with live music from the Giffords Circus band directed by musical director James Keay.
Following the show, Giffords’ unique travelling restaurant, Circus Sauce, will be open serving three-course rustically extravagant feasts and, new for this year, there’s a licensed bar too. Adults from GBP15, kids (3-14 years) from GBP10.
Chiswick House and Gardens W4 2QN; giffordscircus.com 9 Wandsworth Arts Fringe
Until 11 July
Wandsworth Arts Fringe, Wandsworth Council’s flagship festival, offers a hybrid programme of live and digital art this year with over 130 events taking place across 43 Wandsworth venues and online.
The digital programme will build on the success of 2020’s award-winning online festival, while the live programme features circus, dance, music, theatre, comedy, visual art, free family days and more. WAF is also partnering with contemporary circus company Lost In Translation to present the WAF Big Top, a Covid-safe main stage in King George’s Park, with two story-led circus productions: Above, an exciting work-in-progress fable with high-flying aerial stunts, and Cabaret Unlocked, an exclusive night of stunning acrobatics.
wandsworthfringe.com 10 Staircase at Southwark Playhouse, Elephant & Castle
Until 17 July
Staircase by Charles Dyer (1928-2021) was a West End and Broadway hit at its premiere in the late 60s.
The comedy hasn’t been seen in London for more than half a century, but Two’s Company, which excels at bringing back forgotten masterpieces, is bringing the production back this month. Starring Paul Rider (Chicago, A Woman of No Importance) and John Sackville (An Inspector Calls, The Crown), Staircase follows the story of Charlie and Harry, hairdressers in Brixton in the early 60s who have been together for 20 years. Same-sex relationships are illegal, but quick humour and dreams keep them afloat until Charlie is arrested for sitting on a man’s knee in a pub.
Tickets from GBP14.
77-85 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle SE1 6BD; southwarkplayhouse.co.uk
Staircase at Southwark Playhouse (photo courtesy Two’s Company/Southwark Playhouse)
The Hooley is the latest production from the legendary Giffords Circus (photo: Artistes Denis Remnev and Tatiana Ozhiganova in The Hooley 2021 (C) Andrew Rees)
Enjoy a Wimbledon Lanson Champagne Dinner at The Rubens Hotel (photo courtesy Red Carnation Hotels) 11 King’s Cross Summer Love Film Festival
King’s Cross Summer Love Film Festival returns from 1-25 July with movie screenings as well as screenings of Wimbledon and Tour de France on the Granary Square steps overlooking Regent’s Canal. Wimbledon will be screened daily from midday from 1-11 July, with film screenings taking place in the evening and Tour de France screenings from midday from 12-18 July.
Film fans can enjoy cult classics, feel-good favourites and blockbusters including E.T., La La Land, Cool Runnings, Little Women and Black Panther. All screenings are free to attend and there is no need to book, although audience numbers will be limited.
Granary Square, King’s Cross N1C 4BH; kingscross.co.uk 12 Horrible Histories Live Onboard!
From 17 July
Tremble in terror at the Tower! Sizzle at the Savoy! Give Cleopatra the needle!
Be gobsmacked by the Globe! Horrible Histories is telling the history of the Thames on the Thames with the stories of King Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Julius Caesar, the Duke of Wellington, Queen Boudicca, Jack the Ripper and Captain Kidd. Birmingham Stage Company and Woods Silver Fleet have partnered for the new summer tourist experience – perfect for a family staycation in London.
Horrible Histories Live Onboard! TERRIBLE THAMES will sail from Tower Bridge Quay on a fantastic journey to discover the terrible truth about London’s most iconic landmarks in Horrible Histories’ typically immersive and shocking style to thrill both children and adults alike. Adults GBP22, kids GBP14 (4-14).
Family ticket GBP59.50.
terriblethames.seetickets.com 13 City Comedy Club, Shoreditch
Every Thursday, Friday & Saturday
In need of a good laugh? Head for City Comedy Club in Shoreditch, which features a unique line up of professional stand up comedians and secret celebrity guests every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Previous acts have appeared on Live at the Appollo, Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Russell Howard’s Good News, Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Comedy Central Roast Battle and more. City Comedy Club has chalked up plenty of 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor, Google and other reviewing sites, but tickets are a bargain, starting from GBP7. Find it Downstairs at Trapeze Bar on Great Eastern Street.
Opens at 6.30pm, show starts at 7.30pm.
Downstairs at Trapeze Bar, 89 Great Eastern Street, Shoreditch EC2A 3HX; citycomedyclub.co.uk 14 Summer Sessions, Greenwich Peninsula
Weekends till 12 September
Summer Sessions is a celebration of culture and community, set against a colourful festival quarter designed by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Ilori on Greenwich Peninsula. The free summer-long programme runs every weekend throughout summer, with alfresco music, films, food trucks and a pop-up bar.
Highlights include the Peninsula’s first ever Sports Day – a family-friendly day out with nostalgic games, mini-golf, boot camps and basketball – on 10 July, the Wimbledon Finals on 10 & 11 July, Greenwich+Docklands International Festival on 28 & 29 August and, to bring the Sessions to a close, Turning Tides Music Festival on 11 & 12 September. So pull up a deckchair and soak up the sounds of the summer right by the river.
The Tide, Greenwich Peninsula SE10; turningtides.london 15 The Islander Festival at London City Island
Until 10 September
London City Island launches its summer event programme, The Islander Festival, on 27 June with the neighbourhood’s first outdoor cinema screenings, alfresco musical performances and markets.
Tennis season will kick off with a screening of Brit romcom Wimbledon on 27 June, followed by full coverage of the Wimbledon Championships from 28 June-11 July with free walk-in screenings (except for the finals which will be ticketed). Homemade ice cream, Yorkshire strawberries with chocolate sauce, strawberry mojito iced lollies and more will be available.
London City Island E14; londoncityisland.com
Catch an alfresco film screening and Wimbledon by the canal in King’s Cross (photo: kingscross.co.uk)
Horrible Histories Live Onboard presents TERRIBLE THAMES – a great family activity for summer (photo courtesy Birmingham Stage Company and Woods Silver Fleet)
Summer Sessions on The Tide on Greenwich Peninsula offers up live music, films and sports screenings (photo: Yinka Illori’s Promise Me Memories and I Will Let You In (C) Carlos Jimenez) 16 Summer Festival at Covent Garden
Until 3 October
The first ever Summer Festival at Covent Garden has taken over the East Piazza, creating an alfresco setting with a foliage-filled Fever Tree Spritz Bar, a Parisian terrace-themed Stella Artois bar, Wimbledon screenings, daily live music and a revolving selection of street food. Seating over 200 people and running until early October, the experience will include daily Wimbledon screenings, as well as family friendly stages and screens to showcase up-and-coming musical talent.
17 The Loire Bucket List, various locations
The Loire Bucket List is back for the third year in a row to offer Londoners a taste of France’s renowned Loire vineyards. The colourful wine truck will tour the city, offering passers-by free, walk-in tastings of the Loire region’s whites, roses and sparkling wines (10-11 & 24-25 July on Riverside West, Southbank, and on 14-18 July at Taste of London in Regent’s Park). Londoners can also look forward to bespoke wine tasting menus, offers and giveaways across some 30 bars and restaurants.
You’ll find Loire Valley’s top wine appellations served at selected wine bars and restaurants on self-guided itineraries – think Clarette, Vagabond Wines, Sager + Wilde and many more. The wine truck is also offering a limited number of home visits bookable via the dedicated website.
See loirebucketlist.com 18 Music at the Bandstand in Greenwich Park & Regent’s Park
Until 19 September
The bandstands of Greenwich Park and The Regent’s Park will come alive this summer with free performances from a variety of local concert bands, jazz big bands, small groups and choirs – perfect for a summer picnic.
In Regent’s Park, performances will last all afternoon from 12.30pm-5.30pm on Sundays and Bank Holiday Monday at the Park bandstand, and 2pm-4pm on Saturdays at the Broadwalk Bandstand (across from the Broadwalk Cafe). Over in Greenwich Park, there will be concerts at the Bandstand every Sunday in July and August, and on August Bank Holiday Monday. Look out for the Mardi Gras Jazz Band on 4 and 11 July (3pm-5pm) and the Meantime Band on 18 July (3pm-5pm).
See regentsparkmusicfestival.org.uk & friendsofgreenwichpark.org.uk 19 NGS Open Gardens, various locations
The NGS Open Gardens scheme is really coming into its own as we shake off the shackles of lockdown. This month, don’t miss 5 St Regis Close in Muswell Hill (open 25 July).
Featured on Channel 4’s All Gardens Great and Small, the garden has an Oriental tea house overlooking a pond with carp, a baroque temple, pagodas, a pottery and even a ‘Liberace terrace’. Other highlights include Trumpeters’ House & Sarah’s Garden in Richmond, a two-acre garden on the original site of Richmond Palace with long lawns stretching down to banks of the River Thames (3 July); 92 & 94 Brownlow Road in Bounds Green, which open as a pair on 25 July (one is a contemporary garden for entertaining and relaxation, the other a small courtyard for meditation); and 51 The Chase in Clapham, a spectacular garden grown over 35 years with roses, brugmansia, hibiscus and dahlias (4 July & 8 August).
Find more open gardens at ngs.org.uk 20 ‘Sip America’ 4th of July Celebrations, various locations
As Americans gear up to toast the nation’s independence on 4 July, the Cheers!
Spirits from the USA campaign, sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council of the US (DISCUS), invites Londoners to join in the celebrations with American Whiskey cocktails at some of London’s top bars. The Sip America series offers up special edition cocktails themed around four different American whiskey producing states: Illinois, Kentucky, Oregon, and Tennessee. Satan’s Whiskers, Bethnal Green’s laid-back neighbourhood cocktail bar, will offer a taste of Illinois craft scene; Fitz’s Bar, in London’s intellectual quarter, Bloomsbury, celebrates a hero from Kentucky, James E. Pepper; Crossroads, a new addition to Camden that has brought new energy to the drinking scene, is championing Oregon; while cosy Crouch End cocktail bar, Little Mercies, will spotlight the iconic whiskey state of Tennessee.
Follow the journey via @SpiritsfromtheUS
Summer Festival at Covent Garden makes the most of the iconic spot with alfresco screenings and pop-up bars (photo: coventgarden.london)
Fitz’s Bar in Bloomsbury is taking part in Sip America to celebrate 4th of July (photo courtesy the Distilled Spirits Council of the US)
The Loire Bucket List is back to offer Londoners a taste of France’s renowned Loire vineyards from its colourful wine truck (photo: Em Zoode)
21 WingJam, Hoxton
Chicken wing fans, rejoice – WingJam is taking over the Kingsland Lawns at the newly relaunched Museum of The Home in Hoxton. Sponsored by Hennessy and Lingham’s Hot Sauce, WingJam will showcase over 50 different sweet, spicy and tangy flavour combinations from 15 of the UK’s best chicken vendors – thing BBQ wings, buffalo wings, strawberry cheesecake wings, doughnut wings, vegan wings and pigs in blankets wings. The likes of Chicken George Jr – winner of the Just Eat best takeaway award – will be serving up wings at just GBP1 a portion. There’s even a Wingjam Hot Wing Eating Contest, cooking demos, craft beer, cocktails and live music. Tickets from GBP14.50 including a goodie bag.
136 Kingsland Road, Hoxton E2 8EA; wingjam.co.uk
22 161 Food & Drink Garden Dinners, Catford
Sydenham’s 161 Food & Drink, which has been delivering wine to south east London throughout lockdown with its grown-up version of a ‘milkround’, is hosting a series of Garden Dinners in Catford throughout July. While the petite 161 premises prepare to welcome guests back, the team will be popping up at the beautiful space at the Abbotshall Road HLC in Catford each weekend in July to host a series of casual dinners. If the weather holds out, it’ll be alfresco dining, if not the event will move into the venue’s spacious indoor setting.
Tickets are GBP35 including snacks, three courses and a welcome drink on arrival.
Abbotshall Road, Catford SE6 1SQ. To book see 161foodanddrink.com 23 Shakespeare in the Garden, various locations
13 July-16 September
Open Bar returns with two brilliant plays full of comedy, romance and adventure for Shakespeare in the Garden 2021.
Hosted across a number of Fuller’s venues, this outdoor theatre experience allows you to immerse yourself in a unique performance of Shakespeare as it was intended – informal, outrageous and with a drink in hand. Catch either Love’s Labour’s Lost or As You Like It during Fuller’s biggest ever Shakespeare in the Garden tour, with 64 shows across 39 pubs from The Gun E14 to The Plough Inn in Ealing and The Pilot on Greenwich Peninsula to The George IV in Chiswick. Tickets GBP18pp.
fullers.co.uk 24 London Wonderground, Earl’s Court
15 July-26 September
London Wonderground, previously sited on the South Bank, has upped sticks and moving to Earl’s Court to offer a new and improved ‘summer festival playground’, complete with a city beach.
Underbelly’s famous upside-down purple cow tent will also take up residency at the new west London hotspot, returning to London for the first time in five years and joined on site by a 36m Big Top with capacity for 1,000 people. As well as alfresco bars, street food, vintage rides, live music and DJs on the Wonderground bandstand and Earls Court City Beach, a programme of live shows includes a Best of the Edinburgh Festival season of comedy, circus and family performances. There will also be a new temporary public space opposite Earl’s Court Underground Station on Warwick Road curated by the Kensington + Chelsea Festival alongside Underbelly.
The site is free to enter but events are ticketed.
Empress Place, Earl’s Court SW6 1TT; londonwonderground.co.uk 25 Cocktails in the City
Cocktails in the City is back for its second of three weekend long events taking place this summer. The first event took place on 18 & 19 June, with the second on 23-24 July and the final instalment on 20-21 August.
Each takes place in Bloomsbury’s Bedford Square Gardens, which is transformed into a cocktail haven complete with live entertainment, top street food and talks from industry leaders. Many of London’s most renowned bars and celebrated mixologists are taking part, including Bar Swift, Bourne & Hollingsworth, Callooh Callay, Coupette, Dalloway Terrace, Fitz’s Bar, Nightjar and TT Liquor. Not only can you try out signature serves from these cocktail hotspots without having to traverse London, you can also pick up mixology tips and tricks from the curated line-up of talks from industry experts. Session times: 12pm-4pm & 5pm-10pm.
Tickets: GBP20 including a cocktail (10% of each ticket goes to The Drinks Trust to those in the drinks industry).
Bedford Square, Bloomsbury WC1B 3ES; cocktailsinthecity.com
A CGI of the new London Wonderground site in Earl’s Court
WingJam heads for Shoreditch with chicken wings and craft beer
Cocktails in the City returns to the capital for three weekends of alfresco cocktails 26 CoExistence, Green Park and St James’s Park
Until 23 July
The elephants have arrived! After stomping around Chelsea in June, the CoExistence herd has arrived in Green Park and St James’s Park.
The environmental art exhibition is the largest outdoor exhibition of the summer with 100 life-sized elephant sculptures stomping their way slowly around the globe. Meet the herds as they pause on their global migration and to learn about the inspiring ways that humans and wildlife can live peacefully alongside each other. The magnificent sculptures are even up for sale to help raise money for Elephant Family, starting at GBP6,000 for a calf, and a supporting exhibition, CoExistence by George Butler, will run at Sladmore Contemporary in Mayfair from 21 June-23 July.
27 Romeo & Juliet, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Until 24 July
The unsurpassable Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre kicks off its 2021 season with Shakespeare’s classic tale of romance and tragedy, Romeo & Juliet, running from 26 June-24 July and directed by Kimberley Sykes. After that it’s Carousel, from 30 July-18 September, with a score including If I Loved You and You’ll Never Walk Alone, directed by Timothy Sheader with choreography by Drew McOnie. Two family shows are also running with daytime performances for the summer holidays: Unicorn Theatre’s critically acclaimed show about the infamous trickster spider, Anansi the Spider (7-24 July) and Dragons & Mythical Beasts (10 August-5 September).
Tickets from GBP25-GBP65 (children’s productions GBP10-GBP27).
Inner Circle, Regent’s Park NW1 4NU; openairtheatre.com 28 Hilton London Bankside’s Pop-Up Bunny & Chick Petting Zoo
Hilton London Bankside is hosting a Pop-Up Bunny & Chick Petting Zoo this month to celebrate the start of the summer holidays. The Petting Zoo offers individuals a meet and greet the animals under the watchful eye of two trained handlers from Living Things, a five-star animal welfare company.
Afterwards, guests will have the opportunity to take pictures in the den, on a haystack. Free to attend for those staying at the hotel, brunching at Hilton London Bankside’s neighbourhood eatery, OXBO Bankside or dining at its Distillery Bar The Distillery Bankside. Available from 10am until 2pm in the hotel’s lobby. Room rates start from GBP153 (including breakfast).
2-8 Great Suffolk Street SE1 0UG; hilton.com 29 Two Drifters Rum x Prairie Fire for National BBQ Week
Inspired by National BBQ Week (2-11 July), Kansas City pitmasters Prairie Fire in White City is joining forces with award-winning Two Drifters Distillery for a month-long pop up of pure smoked bliss paired with spiced rum cocktails. Dive into Prairie Fire’s limited-edition Two Drifters spiced pineapple rum hot wings and spiced pineapple rum fried hot chicken sandwich, phenomenally paired with Two Drifters 100% molasses-based rums. These savoury, umami-laden dishes are the perfect match for Two Drifters’ sweet and spicy Overproof Pineapple Rum, Spiced Rum and White Rum. Sample all three at Prairie Fire, either straight up on the rocks or in one of Two Drifters’ signature cocktails: the tropical Punch #1, Two Drifters Old Fashioned, Spiced Summer Cup or Two Drifters Highball.
Arches 88-89, Wood Lane Archways W12 7LH; prairiefirebbq.com
30 Rooftop Film Club, Peckham & Stratford
Until 1 August
The Rooftop Film Club has returned to its rooftop homes at Peckham’s iconic Bussey Building and Roof East in Stratford with a line up of brilliant films ranging from Pretty Woman and Dirty Dancing to Sound of Metal, Queen and Slim and Spirited Away. Get yourself there early to soak in the spectacular views and bag yourself some drinks and street food. All seating is unreserved and the venue uses wireless headphones, which can be collected on arrival along with a blanket at the Box Office. Note that start-times are approximate and will vary according to the sunset. Films are screening until 1 August.
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is a highlight of London’s summer calendar (photo: David Jensen)
Rooftop Film Club was a rooftop cinema pioneer in London (photo courtesy Rooftop Film Club)
The Coexistence Herd has taken over London to highlight the overlap between people and wildlife (photo: Tucker Images)
31 Iris Theatre’s 2021 Summer Festival, Covent Garden
Until 22 August
Iris Theatre presents its Summer Festival of theatre, music and performance in the gardens of the Actors Church, Covent Garden. Five breakout theatrical companies have each been commissioned to present a piece of new work for one week this summer, as theatre dusts itself off and heralds a fresh approach post-Covid. Shakespeare Sunday’s will bring Shakespeare back to the gardens in exciting and interesting ways, from a new play performed by Will himself, to a new interactive adventure for young audiences inspired by the Tempest. Closing the festival will be a three-week run of Iris Theatre’s re-imagining of Arthur/Merlin, which takes audiences on a lyrical ride of one of the greatest adventures ever told. There will also be music, magic, children’s theatre, spoken word and more. St Paul’s Church
Bedford Street, Covent Garden WC2E 9ED; iristheatre.com 32 Unearthed: Photography’s Roots at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Until 30 August
Dulwich Picture Gallery reopens with its first major photography exhibition, Unearthed, exploring the history of photography from the 1840s to today.
The exhibition traces the rich history of the medium through depictions of nature, with over 100 works by 41 leading international artists. As well as revealing the fascinating technical processes and narratives behind these images, the exhibition will showcase innovations in photography by key figures like William Henry Fox Talbot, Imogen Cunningham and the English gardener, Charles Jones. Jones’ striking modernist photographs of plants remained unknown for 20 years after his death, until they were discovered in a trunk at Bermondsey Market in 1981.
Adults GBP16.50, under 18s free.
Gallery Road, Dulwich Village SE21 7AD; dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk 33 Between the Bridges, South Bank
Until late September
Launched by the organisers of Winterville and Brockwell Park Festivals, Between the Bridges’ is a new entertainment venue hosting the like of Gilles Peterson, Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard, Madness legend Suggs and Norman Jay MBE hosting DJ sets. Other activities include mini golf, weekly themed markets, drag brunches with Ru Paul’s Drag Race favourites, and takeovers from Guilty Pleasures and tweed-clad 10-piece brass powerhouse Old Dirty Brasstards.
There’s also three bars, eight street food offerings and Tejo, a Colombian game that’s almost as popular as football in its home country. Entry is free apart from Friday and Saturday evenings from 5pm, when entry is GBP5. Advance table booking recommended.
Find it between Hungerford and Westminster bridges.
betweenthebridges.co.uk 34 Festibowl, Finsbury Square
Festibowl – the summer pop-up that has given the quintessentially British sport of lawn bowls an inner city spin – returns to Finsbury Park in the City this summer. Get involved in the silliest, most theatrical game of bowls you’ve ever played while indulging in street food, ice cold drinks and listening to DJs playing classic tunes.
People of all ages can play as the rules are simple and the bowls are easy enough to roll down the green, but Festibowl is so much more than a game when the hilarious MC, Mr Benjamin Owls Esq, gets on the mic, narrating each group’s Great British Bowl Off. Open on selected Thursday and Fridays in May, June, July, August and September.
Tooley Street, London Bridge SE1 2AA; festibowl.co.uk 35 Van Gogh Alive, Kensington Gardens
Until 26 September
Van Gogh Alive, a blockbuster multi-sensory experience that has visited 65 cities around the world, completely immerses you in the life and work of Vincent van Gogh using the latest immersive gallery technology. Experience over 3,000 images, including iconic works like Starry Night, Sunflowers and lesser-known paintings inspired by his love of Japanese woodprints, in a kaleidoscope of colour, accompanied by an evocative classical score and aromas of Provence.
There’s also an interpretive area where you can learn more about Van Gogh’s life and works, as well as interactive art stations, set within walk-in representations of the artist’s Bedroom in Arles painting, and a Sunflower selfie room. Tickets priced from GBP24 for adults and GBP14 for children.
Dulwich Picture Gallery has reopened with its first major photography exhibition, Unearthed (photo (C) Dulwich Picture Gallery)
Between the Bridges opened on the South Bank on 27 May (photo: Luke Dyson)
Van Gogh Alive is one of this summer’s highlights (photo: Rebecca McMillan) 36 Summer by the River, London Bridge
Until 30 September
Summer by the River is back for three months of warm weather festivities, from alfresco drinking and eating pop-ups to outdoor cinema, Wimbledon screenings, Musical Bingo and even dancing with Swing Patrol. At London Bridge City Pier will be Piazza by the Pier, hosted by renowned British chef Jimmy Garcia’s pop up team, where you can make your own pizzas and enjoy a spritz or two, and there will also be the Riverside Terrace bar at The Scoop, serving pints of Madri Excepcional and cocktails from the Malfy con Limone Spritz to the Lynchburg Lemonade, as well as small plates, tapas dishes and ice cream by Good Times Rolls.
Events are free to attend and open for walk-ins on a first-come-first-served basis.
London Bridge City SE1 2DB; londonbridgecity.co.uk 37 Making Paradise at Aga Khan Centre, King’s Cross
Until 30 September
Making Paradise is a new group exhibition exploring the concept of Eden through Islamic garden design at the Aga Khan Centre. The show brings together 19 international multimedia artists, each of whom will present an interpretation of the concept of Al-Jannah – the Garden of Eden, or Paradise in Islam – and will feature digital reproductions of classical miniature paintings from Aga Khan Museum’s permanent collection alongside other depictions of elements associated with Paradise.
The walls of the gallery will be transformed into the four symbolic quadrants of the Chahar Bagh, based on the ‘four gardens’ of Paradise in the Qur’an. The central focus of the show is a silent fountain, designed by renowned Islamic garden designer Emma Clark. From this will spring a bespoke paper-cut installation of organic forms, created by American artist Clare Celeste Borsch.
The exhibition will also feature an installation of birdsong and nature sounds.
10 Handyside Street, King’s Cross N1C 4DN; agakhancentre.org.uk 38 Sneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street at the Design Museum, Kensington
Until 24 October
The humble sneaker – or ‘trainer’, if you prefer – is the subject of the blockbuster exhibition reopening the Design Museum this month. From sneakers originally designed for specific athletic activities such as the Converse All Star Chuck Taylor, the Puma Disc, and Nike Alpha fly Next%, to their cultural resonance across the globe, the exhibition examines how the shoe became the cultural symbol of our times. Take a journey through the design process behind some of the most technically inventive shoes of today, see the adidas ‘FutureCraft.Strung’ shoe-making robot, learn about Satoshi, a brand using blockchain certification, see the world’s first biologically active shoes, developed for Puma, and relive legendary collaborations from the Air Jordan to Yeezy x adidas.
224-238 Kensington High Street W8 6AG; designmuseum.org 39 The Art of Banksy, Covent Garden
Until 21 November
For the very first time, the UK will host an array of unique pieces from the mysterious political activist, satirist and artist, who has spent most of the last three decades anonymously tagging streets across the world. The Art of Banksy, launching in May for a limited season, will feature world-famous pieces including Flower Thrower, Rude Copper and Girl and Balloon, alongside works rarely seen by the general public.
The colossal collection includes authenticated and certified Banksy artworks, with infamous prints, sculptures and limited editions scattered across the walls of a vast 12,000 square foot space in Covent Garden. Plus, with ‘reopening day’ pushed back to 19 July 2021, The Art of Banksy has extended its opening hours until 9pm every Thursday-Saturday. Afterwards, pop across the road to the Radisson Blu Edwardian Mercer Street for a limited-edition Banksy-inspired cocktail called The Mist. Exhibition tickets from GBP21.50.
50 Earlham Street, Covent Garden WC2H 9LJ; artofbanksy.co.uk
40 Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser at the V&A, Kensington
Until 31 December
After more than a year of living through screens, an immersive and fantastical journey down the rabbit hole sounds like just the tonic. The V&A’s first exhibition to incorporate virtual reality, Curiouser and Curiouser invites you to explore five Alice-themed worlds of sensory delights telling the story of how the children’s classic has been interpreted in film, performance, fashion, art, music and photography by leading creatives from Walt Disney to Salvador Dali, The Beatles to Vivienne Westwood. Experience a mind-bending game of VR croquet, encounter a giant caterpillar, see Lewis Carroll’s original handwritten manuscript and marvel at a fearsomely intimidating Red Queen.
Curated by Kate Bailey and designed by the award-winning Tom Piper (best known for his Tower of London poppies installation and stage designs for the Royal Shakespeare Company), the theatrical exhibition concludes with a through the looking glass digital art installation. Tickets GBP20.
Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 2RL; vam.ac.uk
Kissing Coppers by Banksy features in the huge new Art of Banksy exhibition (photo courtesy Art of Banksy)
Clare Celeste Borsch’s Geo Biodiversity III (handcut paper illustrations in layers of plexiglass, 50cm, 2018) is part of Making Paradise at Aga Khan Centre
Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser is on now at the V&A (photo: an installation shot (C) Victoria and Albert Museum, London) 41 Royal Style in the Making, Kensington Palace
Until 2 Jan 2022
Royal Style in the Making is a temporary exhibition revealing the process behind the creation of a number of the most important couture commissions in royal history – including the wedding dress of Diana, Princess of Wales, on show for the first time at Kensington Palace in 25 years.
Hosted in the newly-conserved historic Orangery, the exhibition explores the intimate relationship between fashion designer and royal client. The display features never-before-seen items from the archives of some of the most celebrated royal couturiers of the 20th century, including sketches by the likes of Norman Hartnell and David Sassoon of Bellville Sassoon, set alongside examples of the glittering gowns and stylish tailoring created for three generations of royal women. A rare surviving toile for the 1937 coronation gown of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, consort of King George VI, is also on display.
Included in the admission to Kensington Palace and gardens, priced GBP23pp (GBP11.50 for kids).
Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens W8 4PX; hrp.org.uk 42 Monkey Business at the Horniman Museum & Gardens, Forest Hill
Until 3 Jan 2022
Come face to face with more than 60 spectacular taxidermy specimens (all natural casualties) of monkeys, apes, lemurs, lorises and bush-babies, alongside models, stunning photography and film. The family-friendly exhibition examines the key characteristics of primates and how they have evolved, how they communicate, the tools they have developed to obtain food, and their complex social systems.
It also looks at the relationship between humans and other primates – our closest living relatives – today and what we can do to help protect them. Family ticket GBP18 (2 adults, 2 children), adults GBP8, kids GBP4.50.
100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ; horniman.ac.uk 43 Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds: The Immersive Experience
Until 29 Jan 2022
The team behind Somnai, one of 2018’s most raved-about immersive experiences, is back after a lockdown hiatus with its phenomenal show, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds: The Immersive Experience.
Prolific composer Jeff Wayne has partnered with cutting-edge ‘layered reality’ company dotdotdot to re-imagine his Musical Work into a multi-sensory experience of immersive theatre, virtual reality, augmented reality holograms and other cutting-edge technology. You’ll be thrust you right into the centre of the of HG Wells’ Victorian England and the Martian invasion of 1898, where you’ll be able to smell the grass and feel the chill of the story’s famous Horsell Common, and physically feel the ground shake as the first cylinder lands. Tickets from GBP40.
56 Leadenhall Street EC3A 2BJ; dotdot.london/TWOTW
44 The Murder Express, Bethnal Green
Until 27 Feb 2022
Immersive dining experts Funicular return with their fantastic production, The Murder Express. The experience takes place on a luxury train carriage, where you’ll enjoy a fantastic four-course meal curated by BBC MasterChef The Professionals Finalist 2017 Louisa Ellis, while a dramatic scenario plays out around you. Expect murder, mystery, a few moments of awkward eye contact as actors break the fourth wall, and some great cocktails.
Pedley Street Station, Arch 63 Pedley Street E1 5BW; funicularproductions.com
45 Doctor Who: Time Fracture at Immersive LDN, Mayfair
Until 17 April 2022
Olivier Award-winning producers Louis Hartshorn and Brian Hook, the duo behind The Great Gatsby, are set to launch a new immersive production of Doctor Who: Time Fracture. Taking place at Immersive LDN in Mayfair, a huge historic building with three floors of immersive theatre and event spaces designated for performance, live gaming, events, escape rooms and private parties, the ground-breaking theatrical adventure will plunge you into the incredible Universe of Doctor Who. It’s 1940, the height of the Blitz, and a weapon of unknown origin not only destroys a corner of Mayfair, it also opens a rift in the space-time continuum.
Earth as we know it is a stake and it’s time for you to be the hero!.
56 Davies Street, Mayfair W1K 5HR; immersivedoctorwho.com
Royal Style in the Making is a new exhibition at Kensington Palace (photo: Historic Royal Palaces conservator prepares Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother’s coronation gown toile for display (C) Historic Royal Palaces)
Princess Diana’s wedding dress is on display as part of Royal Style in the Making exhibition at Kensington Palace (photo (C) Historic Royal Palaces)
Doctor Who: Time Fracture launches at Immersive LDN this month (photo: Luke Dyson)
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